2018-05-16 / Front Page

School Board approves redistricting plan for Beulah, Hopkins


The Chesterfield County School Board unanimously approved plans to redistrict more than 300 students at Beulah and other elementary schools at its business meeting on Monday night.

With a new replacement school for Beulah Elementary opening this fall, the school will now have the capacity for approximately 900 students, which will accommodate its current students and eliminate the need for trailers. To help balance school enrollments in the district and create efficiencies in busing, along with other benefits, the School Board agreed to redistrict more than 300 elementary students, moving 166 students to Beulah and 164 students from Beulah to Hopkins.

Ninety-nine students will move from Hopkins to Beulah, 44 from Ecoff to Beulah, and 23 students from Salem Church to Beulah. The moves will impact students in the neighborhoods of Hilmar, Mason Woods, Parker Estates, Summertree, Willowhurst, Oakmon and Kingland Woods. The 164 students that will move from Beulah to Hopkins will come from the neighborhoods of Cedar Acres, Cedar Heights, Dalebluff Manor, Meadowdale and Ravensdale.

Unlike most other redistricting efforts undertaken by the school system, a broader waiver policy will be allowed because of this redistricting’s unique circumstances. First, the redistricting will require more students to attend Hopkins, leading to a temporary overcrowding at the school that will likely diminish as future redistricting takes place in the Dale District. Second, the redistricting was approved later than preferred, and the school system wants to give families time to adjust their schedules.

Students in kindergarten through fourth grade can also apply for waivers to remain at their existing school if there’s capacity in both their school and grade level, and the family provides transportation to and from school. Chesterfield County Public Schools spokesman Tim Bullis explained that letters would be sent to every affected family in the following two days to notify them of the change.

Before the vote, board chair and Dale District representative John Erbach explained the reasoning behind his decision.

“Redistricting falls squarely on the School Board,” he said. “It’s a very difficult responsibility that we have to look at through the whole county. As much as I was initially hesitant to do any redistricting that would pull students out of the current Beulah zone, the fact is that this is a necessary thing for these students.

“In the long run, we do believe this is the right thing to do.”

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